May 27th

On our walk

Nelson and I have been taking long, rambling walks that often leave me asking for directions and scratching my head. Without mountains in the west as a compass point, I’m frequently lost. It is delightful to be without a timetable; we wander, we talk to neighbors, we closely examine flowers and trees with which we are unfamiliar.

On our walk

And one of us does a lot of playful yipping at other dogs.

(What? I like dogs).

I am eager to get a library card here to research the flora and fauna of our neighborhood. It the last two weeks, the colors have so changed. The pale, delicate pink blossoms of cherry trees have fallen, wilted and blown away, ashen along their edges. In place, these flamboyant fuschia bushes have come to life — including one in our yard. Azaleas, perhaps?

On our walk

This red tree catches my eye in the evening. If you see it just in the right light, it appears to be illuminated from within.

Fire Tree

Fire Tree

These flowers are dainty and sultry — in their own Georgia O’Keeffe kinda way.

On our walk

And oh, how I love the moss growing on these giant old trees. Everything is just so very, very green. Makes a desert girl reconsider her understanding of the color itself.

(There is some very navel-gazy-blog essay that could but won’t be written about being named after a shade of green, only to move to a land to better understand both the hue and myself. You’re welcome.)

On our walk

This week, I’m researching gardening organizations and trying to find a New Jersey planting calendar. And sweet talking our landlord into letting me use a bit of additional space to put in some rows of vegetables, including transplanting my potted, rambunctious teenager tomatoes and peppers — their limbs reaching out with adolescent awkwardness.

Happy exploring to you, amigos.


Posted in
Flora and Fauna, NJ + NYC
Follow the comments.

9 Responses

  1. If I can get away with it without looking too stalkery, I have to take some pictures for you of a neighbor’s yard who has torn out almost all of her grass and turned her entire front yard into a flower garden. You would love it.

  2. I think those flowers in the top couple images are rhododendrons! I usually think of them in the Pacific Northwest, but no reason they couldn’t thrive in Jersey, I’m sure 🙂

  3. Those flowers are Rhododendron Kelli…My favorite are the blue hydrandeas that can be found on Cape Cod. Happy exploring!

  4. Yep! Rhododendron! I’m from Maryland, originally–my parents still live in the home where my brother and I grew up–and their garden beds are full of them (and azaleas!). The flowers are very pretty. My favorite (besides all the fruit blossoms) are the peonies bushes. My friend and his parents gave me a big, beautiful bouquet of them from their yard for my high school graduation, and it was love at first site! Enjoy the exploration, Kelli!

  5. Woops–“sight”. Hee. CLEARLY a little too much internet-land lately.

  6. I bet Nelson likes other dogs as well….

  7. Larissa Stretton May 29, 2013


    Throwing my two cents in here, I think the red tree is a maple tree (not sure if it’s a Japanese or a Red from the photo). We’ve got a pair of beautiful red maples in our yard that my husband taps to make syrup in th winter. It’s very beautiful, as are your gorgeous rhododendrons (or rhodys as we call them!!) According to my Audubon Field Guide, the pink droopy flowers are an azalea, although a much less common type than we usually see.

    It’s so fun sharing your experience as you become more familiar with your new home! Once again, Welcome to the East Coast Baby!!!

  8. AdamMackWright May 30, 2013

    You didn’t use the word “akimbo”!!! Congratulations! Big step.

  9. Rhododendron – so pretty! We had those in our yard when i was growing up. You might see mountain laurel when you hike? I don’t know the range, but it will be recognizable after seeing the rhododendron. I will try to remember to send you a picture of an azalea since some are still blooming in my new back yard. Very similar looking flower, but rhododendrons grow in clusters. The second is a maple, so tall I will not guess the type. Curious about the third plant. I guess i should read the comments? How beautiful your walks must be!